Manchester United and Manchester City are reportedly set to target Barcelona and France defender Samuel Umtiti in the summer transfer window.
As per a report from TransferMarketWeb, La Liga champions Barcelona could allow star defender Samuel Umtiti to leave in the summer, amid interest from Premier League giants Manchester City and Manchester United.
The 25-year-old Umtiti has established himself as one of the most solid defenders across Europe since making the switch to Barcelona from Olympique Lyon in 2016. An integral part of the team, Umtiti has racked up 93 appearances for the Catalans, winning a La Liga title and two Copa del Rey trophies.
Umtiti was also a key member of the France national team that lifted the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. Post the World Cup triumph, however, things haven’t gone all too well for the defender.
A serious knee injury early in the ongoing season saw him spending a considerable amount of time out on the treatment tables. Umtiti, till date has featured just ten times in all competitions for Barcelona in the 2018-19 term, only two of which have come since November last year.
During his absence, summer signing Clement Lenglet has firmly established himself as the preferred partner for Gerard Pique at the heart of the Blaugrana defence. Barcelona are also set to step up their pursuit of Dutch defender and Ajax captain Matthijs de Ligt ahead of next season. This has cast a doubt over Umtiti’s future at the club, amid growing concerns over his injury issues.
This development seems to have put both the Manchester clubs on high-alert, as per the report from TMW.
Manchester United are in need of a new defensive addition to their ranks ahead of the 2019-20 season, having seen their current options at centre-back struggle for consistency this season. Umtiti is someone that has been on the club’s radar in the past and his potential availability seems to have prompted the club to reignite their interest in the World Cup winner, as per the report.
Manchester City are also looking to boost their defensive options, as club captain Vincent Kompany will be 33 by the time the next season kicks off. The Belgian is in the final few months of his contract with the Premier League champions, but is expected to pen a new deal. However, a long-term succession plan is likely to be put in place, with Umtiti emerging as a potential option.
Umtiti is contracted with Barcelona till the summer of 2023, having signed an extension in June last year. However, given his recent tryst with injury, the Catalans could be open to a sale as per the report, the chances of which would further increase if they succeed in their pursuit of de Ligt.
A World Cup winner and a proven performer, the 25-year-old would be an excellent addition to any club he decides to join. However, it remains to be seen if either of Manchester United or Manchester City do decide to test the waters with a summer bid for the Frenchman.